How to pack like a boss – 10 invaluable tips from experienced travelers
Ever found yourself desperately stuffing your bag with a random set of clothes a few hours before dashing off to the airport? How about spending weeks packing and pondering which pair of shoes you’ll be able to wear with those jeans shorts?
Yes, packing can be frustrating and make you pull your hair out or break out in a sweat – especially if you have to do it often – but it doesn’t have to be that way. I asked some of EF’s most frequent travelers for their best packing tips and put together a list of ten that will take your packing to the next level – before you know it, you’ll be packing like a boss!
1. Tom: Carry on and keep it light
Pack the night before regardless of the time you’re flying out, and more importantly, Keep. It. Light. Make the whole process easier by picking outfits and pieces of clothing you’re wearing a lot at the time instead of rummaging through your entire wardrobe. Forgot something? No stress – remember that most things can be re-bought at your destination (and as a little bonus you’ll be taking a brand new winter coat/hat/pair of awesome boots home with you!)
2. Narae: Roll, roll and then roll some more
Try to travel with a small suitcase with wheels only, and remember to roll your clothes instead of folding. It actually saves a lot of space and helps you avoid wrinkles. (Just check out how packing pros do it.) For little bits and pieces like jewelry and toothbrushes, use disposable plastic gloves for storage: it keeps everything separate, organized and clean.
3. Yaron: Layer up
Want to bring a few more garments but can’t quite cram anything else into your overflowing suitcase? Layering is your friend. Simply slip on an extra jumper/t-shirt/jacket and save precious luggage space. Not only will you be grateful for the extra outfit opportunities when you touch down in your destination – you’ll be nice and cozy on the plane too.
4. Madeleine: It’s all in the prep
Prepare carefully so you’ll only carry what you’ll definitely wear. Start off by identifying your essentials; mine are: running shoes, swimwear, sun glasses, and a book. Then move on to outfits that will cover the things you’ll do during your trip, and identify how much overlap there is between the items (can that skirt be used with two tops? If not, ditch it.) Spend a few days re-evaluating everything and fighting the temptation to stuff that bag with impulsive items you KNOW you won’t wear (this can be tough, especially if your bag looks half empty!)
5. Kaisa: Always have a back-up
Although it’s better to travel with carry-on only, if you do need to pack a larger bag or suitcase, always bring along an emergency change of clothes in your carry-on – great for those times where you’re stuck in your destination for a day or two without your bag (you don’t wanna be the guy wearing the same set of undies for a 4th day in a row, now do you?) Extra tip: save those cloth bags you get when buying new shoes or bags and use them to pack smaller items like socks, underwear or swimsuits. Don’t forget to bring one extra bag for dirty laundry!
6. Katya: From staples to heels
Always start with the staples and make sure you have the basics covered: bring your passport, cards (debit and credit), phone & phone charger, headphones (you need your life soundtrack, people!), gum, tissues, band-aids, make-up and pain killers, and then move on to essentials like your favorite pair of heels – you never know which meeting, party or occasion you’ll get “dragged” into!
7. Linda: All about the (black) capsule wardrobe
Planning your outfits is essential. Pick pieces that can easily be mixed and matched (neutrals work best) and avoid overpacking heavy items, such as boots and thick sweaters. Laying everything out on your bed helps you spot outfit combinations. This is where I’m happy my wardrobe consists mainly of black pieces (‘90s Angelina Jolie was and still is my fashion icon). Check the weather report, and pack any must-haves for where you are going (a rain jacket, warm socks or a light linen shirt can make all the difference).
8. Sonja: Travel-sized beauty is best
Off on a short jaunt and only plan on bringing hand luggage? Fear not – you don’t need to purchase a bevy of mini-products to replace your treasured 200+ml skincare/shower essentials. Simply pop down to your nearest pharmacy and buy a travel-size container set. Fill them up with enough product to see you through your trip and minimize both faff and plastic waste by whipping them back out for your next holiday! Nothing is sadder than being stuck with a lone bottle of hotel body wash while on holiday
9. Danny: Less is more
Be a minimalist – pack the core essentials! Got your passport, phone, portable charger, purse and deodorant? You’re good to go, literally. Keep it simple with clothing too; one pair of jeans, basic tee, light dress, foldable rain jacket, black/white trainers. If you’re going somewhere chilly, I always wear the big jacket and fleece rather than packing it – you’ll save LOADS of space.
10. Fin: See packing as stacking
I have a simple packing rule: stack everything inside everything else, just like you’re playing with a set of Russian Babushka dolls. Stuff socks into bulky shoes; place bags inside other bags; wrap delicate items in your wooliest woolly jumper. Perhaps an unconventional approach to packing, but those excess pockets of space can later be filled with all those random extras you accumulate on your travels – make room for your new favorite foreign chocolates; books stolen from the hidden corner cafes and that new sunhat bought on impulse at a quaint beachside store.